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This Bronx-Based Running Club Doubles as a Local History Class

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Like the rest of New York City, the Bronx has history hidden around every corner. You can find 19th century parks, noteworthy buildings, and memorials honoring the legacy of the borough and its residents just about everywhere. On a less positive note, it also happens to be the least healthy county in all of New York state.

When Bronx residents Justin Mashia and Pedro Rivera learned of the borough's health issues, they came up with a unique way to tackle the problem using the area’s rich history. As GOOD reports, they started Bronx Sole, an open running group that integrates significant local landmarks and their historical context into each run. On any given Tuesday night day, the runners might visit Yankee Stadium, the ruins of the Metropolis Theatre, or High Bridge, the oldest standing bridge in the city. At each destination, the group pauses for a brief history lesson.

When they initially formed Bronx Sole in September 2016, Mashia and Rivera—who first met at a Nike-sponsored workout in 2015—restricted enrollment to beginners.

“If I’m trying to get people to get off their couches to come outside and run, I don’t want them to be intimidated,” Mashia told GOOD. “You don’t want people coming out and dying, while everybody else is running with ease.”

They have since relaxed those rules. Today, runners of all ages and experience levels are invited to join the group for aerobic exercise mixed with some education. To make sure none of the participants feel left out, a pacer is there to take up the rear. Participants come away from the 3 to 4 mile run feeling a little healthier and knowing a little more about the borough they live in.

If you're a New Yorker, Bronx Sole meets every Tuesday night at 6 p.m. outside Franz Siegel Park.

[h/t GOOD]

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fun
Watch a Chain of Dominos Climb a Flight of Stairs
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Dominos are made to fall down—it's what they do. But in the hands of 19-year-old professional domino artist Lily Hevesh, known as Hevesh5 on YouTube, the tiny plastic tiles can be arranged to fall up a flight of stairs in spectacular fashion.

The video spotted by Thrillist shows the chain reaction being set off at the top a staircase. The momentum travels to the bottom of the stairs and is then carried back up through a Rube Goldberg machine of balls, cups, dominos, and other toys spanning the steps. The contraption leads back up to the platform where it began, only to end with a basketball bouncing down the steps and toppling a wall of dominos below.

The domino art seems to flow effortlessly, but it took more than a few shots to get it right. The footage below shows the 32nd attempt at having all the elements come together in one, unbroken take. (You can catch the blooper at the end of an uncooperative basketball ruining a near-perfect run.)

Hevesh’s domino chains that don't appear to defy gravity are no less impressive. Check out this ambitious rainbow domino spiral that took her 25 hours to construct.

[h/t Thrillist]

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Big Questions
How Are Balloons Chosen for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade?
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The balloons for this year's Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade range from the classics like Charlie Brown to more modern characters who have debuted in the past few years, including The Elf On The Shelf. New to the parade this year are Olaf from Disney's Frozen and Chase from Paw Patrol. But how does the retail giant choose which characters will appear in the lineup?

Balloon characters are chosen in different ways. For example, in 2011, Macy’s requested B. Boy after parade organizers saw the Tim Burton retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art. (The company had been adding a series of art balloons to the parade lineup since 2005, which it called the Blue Sky Gallery.) When it comes to commercial balloons, though, it appears to be all about the Benjamins.

First-time balloons cost at least $190,000—this covers admission into the parade and the cost of balloon construction. After the initial year, companies can expect to pay Macy’s about $90,000 to get a character into the parade lineup. If you consider that the balloons are out for only an hour or so, that’s about $1500 a minute.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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